Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Free Furniture

I've furnished most of my house with free used furniture. Some of it I had to pay for. I think altogether I paid about fifty bucks for all the furniture in my house. Just to give you an idea of how much furniture I actually have, I'll list as many pieces I can think of. I'll probably forget a few. We have a kitchen table (with built-in benches), dining room table(cost $10) with 4 chairs, a giant metal desk(cost $10) with a wooden hutch on top, entertainment center, couch (with recliners), easy chair, about 6 bookshelves and/or shelving units(2 cost us $10 each, so $20 total), love seat, 2 coffee/side tables (1 cost us $5, the other was free), porch swing, plastic lawn chairs, 2 hardwood dressers(1 cost us $8, other was free), queen-sized canopy bed, 2 nightstands, a toddler bed, and a crib. As I've said, I'm sure I'm forgetting something. All this doesn't even mention all the appliances and electronics we've gotten for free or deeply discounted. Just so we're clear, I've just listed all the furniture in my entire house. I don't have 10 more pieces of furniture I'm just not counting because I paid full-price for them. I don't pay full-price for anything.

So what's the trick to getting all this for free, or practically free? It's called delay of gratification, or, to put it nicely, patience. Get rid of the Gimmie Gimmies and you'll be surprised what you might find is worth waiting for. I really really really wanted a porch swing for the longest time. I finally found one laying on the side of the road, waiting to be picked up and hulled into a garbage truck. It had some peeling paint. With a new coat of paint, it's a whole new swing. Perfect.

So why would we want to have all this salvaged junk? After all, we could afford to buy this stuff brand new. The main reason we acquire used things, whether by paying for them or simply hauling them away, is because of the environment. Yeah, I'm going there again. I won't give you statistics about how much junk is thrown away, blah, blah, blah. I'm sure you've heard it all before. Quite frankly, as an aside, I'm getting sick of all the greenwashing myself. But I'm also sick of the consumerist society we've all become accustomed to.

Take this recession as an opportunity to rethink the way you live. Seperate wants from needs. Get rid of the Gimmie Gimmies. You may be surprised at how happy you are, despite how little stuff you have.

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